The man arrested in connection with the shooting death of the eldest sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams is known to have associated with gangs.

Aaron Michael Hammer of Compton was jailed on Monday without bail hours after the killing of Yetunde Price -- Venus and Serena's half sister.

Price was shot in the chest early Sunday. Hammer was booked for investigation of murder late Sunday and jailed without bond, said sheriff's Deputy Bill Spear.

Authorities said Hammer has ties to a Compton street gang although he is not a member. He also has been convicted on counts of cheque forgery and commercial burglary.

The motive and whether Price knew her assailant were unclear.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Price and a male companion, Rolland Wormley, 28, were driving in a sport utility vehicle in Compton, a Los Angeles suburb known for street gangs and violence, when they became involved in a confrontation.

Shots rang out, police said, and Price was struck in the chest. She was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.

Los Angeles police said Wormley was not a suspect in the shooting, but had been arrested for violating his parole. They would not give the reason he was on parole.

The Times also quoted police as saying the incident may have been gang-related, and that the shooting occurred near a suspected drug house. In fact, Price was shot about 1 miles from the Compton tennis courts where Serena and Venus played as children.

Price was the half-sister of the tennis stars, having the same mother as Venus and Serena: Oracene Williams.

Venus and Serena's agent, Carlos Fleming, said the family was on its way to California. Serena had been in Toronto filming a guest appearance on an American cable TV show.

"We are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by the shooting death of our beloved Yetunde," the family said in a statement.

"She was our nucleus and our rock. She was personal assistant, confidant, and adviser to her sisters, and her death leaves a void that can never be filled."

Price was one of five Williams sisters who spent their early years in Compton before moving to Florida.

The other Williams sisters are Lyndrea, an actress and singer, and Isha, a lawyer and singer, who along with Yetunde were born to Oracene Price and Yusef Rasheed. Richard Williams is Venus and Serena's father.

"They don't regard themselves as half-sisters, they regard themselves as sisters," said Serena's publicist, Raymone Bain. "The five girls are each others best friends."

Price, a registered nurse and beauty salon owner, served as a personal assistant to Venus and Serena.

with files from Associated Press